Here in Wyoming the climate is changing, and so, too, are the energy policies, markets, and economic priorities around us.
The only question that remains is this: What is Wyoming going to do about it?
As one of our country’s top fossil fuel exporters, Wyoming has a huge greenhouse gas footprint. The Outdoor Council advocates for policies — like improved “leak detection and repair” of oil and gas facilities and increased emissions monitoring — that will reduce greenhouse gasses and harmful air pollutants that contribute to climate change and health impacts in our communities.Our best available scientific and economic analyses show us that climate change, and the global response to the threats it poses, will have real and tangible impacts on Wyoming’s environment, economy, and way of life. Unless we take the reins to ensure that the right policies are in place to reduce our emissions, expand the market for cleaner energy sources, and provide for a just and fair transition for Wyoming communities, market forces outside of our control will undermine the state’s traditional forms of revenue.
What we need now is leadership, and a path forward that leverages Wyoming’s unique resources and strengths to address the challenges and opportunities climate change presents. Here’s what we’re doing:
Supporting Statewide Efforts Toward Economic Diversification
The majority of Wyoming’s state budget — 55 to 65 percent — comes from taxes generated from the production of high carbon fuel sources like coal, natural gas, and oil. Diversifying these revenue sources and finding innovative ways to generate income in a carbon limited economy presents a major challenge that will require policy expertise at many levels. The Outdoor Council is working with stakeholders and policy makers to push these conversations and new ideas forward to emphasize Wyoming’s strengths, such as its outdoor recreation economy and the potential for appropriately sited renewable energy.
Doing Renewables Right
We believe that responsible renewable energy development will bring many opportunities to Wyoming and help us transition to a low carbon economy. However, all large energy projects have environmental impacts that must be carefully considered. As utilities and markets evolve to favor lower-cost renewable energy, the Outdoor Council is committed to being at the table with state and federal agencies to ensure Wyoming’s cherished wildlife and sensitive habitats are protected through proper siting and planning. We are leading the charge, working with the University of Wyoming, government officials, developers, and other stakeholders across the state to develop recommendations for responsibly siting and permitting the next generation of energy technologies.
FIGHTING FOR ROOFTOP SOLAR
At the small business, local government, and residential level, we are fighting to protect the state’s net metering policy so residents have access to affordable clean energy options right in their backyard. We are actively working with a coalition of conservation groups, small businesses, and local governments across the state to educate lawmakers about the benefits of rooftop solar and push back efforts to repeal net metering. To learn more about net metering, check out our infographic and other resources below.
Growing Grassroots CLIMATE ADVOCACY
Most Wyomingites believe in human-caused climate change, but how we talk about climate change, its challenges, and its solutions must also speak to Wyoming values and our unique context. The Outdoor Council is facilitating that conversation around climate change around the state by supporting grassroots initiatives like the Lander Climate Action Network and Citizens for Responsible Energy Development that empower citizens to take action.
ADVOCATING A JUST TRANSITION FOR ENERGY WORKERS & COMMUNITIES
Addressing climate change on Wyoming’s terms means growing the tent of traditional allies to build new partnerships with industry and labor groups to ensure that workers who have spent their careers in Wyoming’s energy industry are not left behind in the low carbon future. WOC is collaborating with labor and workers groups, like the Wyoming AFL-CIO and Utility Workers, in pursuing climate change policies through the lens of a “just transition” for energy workers and communities.
Reducing Wyoming’s Carbon FootpriNT
As one of our country’s top fossil fuel exporters, Wyoming has a huge greenhouse gas footprint. The Outdoor Council advocates for policies — like improved “leak detection and repair” of oil and gas facilities and increased emissions monitoring — that will reduce greenhouse gasses and harmful air pollutants that contribute to climate change and health impacts in our communities.
LATEST FIELD NOTES, NEWS, & ACTIONS
Whether you ranch, farm, hunt, fish, or ski, there is a season for most things in Wyoming. But there are some seasons that we could do without. Topping that list is “winter ozone season” in the Upper Green River Basin of Sublette County.
In the past few years, all around the world, the problem of climate change has been coming to the fore. Now, there is a growing local climate action movement taking root in Wyoming.
A change in federal administrations — and the policies that follow — is cause for either excitement or anxiety depending on how you voted. And for good reason: Elections have consequences. National policies affect our health, our economy, and our environment. And in Wyoming, where nearly half of the land is managed by the federal government, national policies have a disproportionate impact.
Comments, letters, & other documents
What is net metering?
Dec. 2020 | LETTER
Lander Climate Action Network Recommendations for City Council
Dec. 2020 | ARTICLE, High Country News
Local Climate Efforts Cut Costs and Carbon in Wyoming
Nov. 2020 | REPORT
Wyoming Renewable Energy Siting Stakeholder Assessment
Nov. 2020 | PROCLAMATION
Oct. 2020 | COLLABORATIVE
Nov. 2019 | ARTICLE, Casper Star-Tribune
Sept. 2019 | ARTICLE, Wyofile